Unbeaten Portlaoise boxer TJ Doheny has secured a world title fight. Now based in Sydney, the 31-year old bids for the IBF super bantamweight belt in Tokyo against defending title holder Ryosuke Iwasa on August 16.
Unbeaten in 19 fights, Doheny was made the mandatory challenger in December, but had to wait for his opportunity as Iwasa, who has won 25 of his 27 bouts, opted to undertake a voluntary defence in March, which he won comfortably.
Doheny, meanwhile, last fought on St Patrick’s night in Boston when he stopped Mike Oliver in the second round.
The August showdown will be an interesting tactical fight as both Iwasa and Doheny both box from the southpaw stance.
The IBF super bantamweight belt was held by Ireland’s Carl Frampton between 2014 and 2016 before he moved up to the featherweight division.
Doheny will be bidding to become only the second fighter from either Ireland or the UK to win a world title in Japan. In 1995 Olympic silver medallist Wayne McCullough won the WBC bantamweight belt against defending title holder Yasuei Yakushiji.
At the moment Ireland has two reigning professional world champions, Katie Taylor and Ryan Burnett.
Incidentally, the latter beat Lee Haskins to win the IBF bantamweight world belt last summer in Belfast. In 2015 Hawkins knocked out Iwasa in Bristol but the Japanese fighter recovered from that setback and has won six fights since.
Boxing lost two faithful and popular servants yesterday. Dublin-born trainer Brendan Ingle died at the age of 77, after several years fighting Alzheimer's Disease while Dean Francis, a former British, European and Commonwealth champion, has died after a battle with cancer at the age of just 44.